Steven B. Wilson
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Bad Boy Mowers will partner with David Ragan at one of NASCAR’s baddest tracks, joining the No. 38 team at Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. The partnership will be the first for the zero-turn mower manufacturer and the 2013 Talladega race winner.
The Batesville, Ark.-based company specializes in zero-turn radius lawn mowers and other commercial and residential lawn care equipment. Launched in 2002, Bad Boy Mowers now offers a full line of equipment built in its Ozark Mountain headquarters and shipped to retailers nationwide in its own fleet of haulers.
“Bad Boy Mowers is the perfect partner to bring on board with our No. 38 team,” Ragan said. “They’re an American business success story with a great product made in the U.S.A. We’re excited to have them for one of our favorite races of the year where we always have fast Fords. The Bad Boy Mowers Ford looks pretty sharp now, and I think it would look even better with confetti on it.”
Ragan knows where Victory Lane is at Talladega Superspeedway. He earned a dramatic win at the 2.66-mile oval in the 2013 Geico 500 – the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory for Front Row Motorsports and Ragan’s second Cup career win. In addition to the win, he has four top-five and nine top-10 finishes at Talladega.
“We are proud to partner with David Ragan and the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports team, an already proven winning combination at Talladega Superspeedway,” said Bad Boy Mowers’ Bill Hurst. “This weekend we are excited that the No. 38 Ford will sport a new design for us and our new Bad Boy Mowers logo on the hood. Good luck to the team and go mow them down, David.”
The Geico 500 is scheduled to air live on FOX, with covering beginning Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.
This week’s NFL player draft and Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway are special events for Shannon Myers, the rear tire changer for Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 14 Haas Automation Demo Day Ford Fusion driven by Clint Bowyer.
The Miami Dolphins drafted Myers in the seventh round of the 1995 draft. After a professional football career hampered by injury, the speedy wide receiver out of NCAA Division II Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, North Carolina joined the NASCAR circuit in 2001 as a tire changer. Sunday afternoon, he’ll change tires for Bowyer as the veteran driver seeks his second win of the season and his third career NASCAR Cup Series win at Talladega.
The soft spoken Myers knows the importance this week holds for college football players and their families.
“All your life you worked and hoped that one day you would be drafted, and it all comes down to this day,” he said. “I didn’t care who took me. I just wanted to be drafted and get a shot to make the team. You have your family and friends around. They are probably even more excited for you than you are.”
Myers played American Legion baseball the day he was drafted, but after the game joined the well-wishers at his mother’s North Carolina home. With shot nerves from answering plenty of “false-alarm” calls from friends, Myers waited by the telephone and television.
“I went outside by myself so I could get some privacy and got a call from Tom Bratz of the Miami Dolphins,” Myers said. “He asked me, ‘How would you feel about playing for coach Don Shula?’ I said I would be honored. A few minutes later, he called back. He said, ‘Congratulations, son, we just drafted you. You are now a Miami Dolphin.’”
Myers walked back inside the house and gave everyone the thumbs up, cueing smiles and tears of joy. Within minutes, he gave interviews with the Miami media.
“You wait and wonder for so long that day and it’s agony,” said the now 44-year-old Myers, who was the final draft pick of Shula’s NFL Hall of Fame coaching career. “When you get that call, you go from deflated to winning the Super Bowl. It was an eruption.”
Myers learned the plays and caught passes thrown by quarterback Dan Marino. He even spent Thanksgiving at the Hall of Fame quarterback’s house. His tenure with the Dolphins ended with a kidney injury during minicamp, but perseverance led to stints in Oakland, Tampa, Seattle and the New York Jets, along with teams in Canada and Europe.
His travels enabled him to learn from some of the sport’s Super Bowl-winning coaches like Shula, Jimmy Johnson, Jon Gruden, Mike Holmgren, Bill Parcells and Tony Dungy.
He brought lessons from those coaches to NASCAR after following a doctor’s suggestion to enter a pit crew developmental program at Petty Enterprises. He progressed through the NASCAR world changing tires on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s 2004 Daytona 500-winning pit crew and won two Xfinity Series titles with Martin Truex Jr. He also worked at Michael Waltrip Racing and Wood Brothers Racing in recent years.
“Obviously, you have to have the physical ability but, from those guys, I learned how to be a teammate,” Myers said. “It’s knowing when to speak up, when to take coaching, learning to succeed as a team.”
Myers feels the similarities between football and NASCAR are many.
“When you get to the top of any sport, everything gets faster,” he said. “Failure isn’t an option – you fight through failure, whether it’s in football or running in the top-three at a race. It’s the hours that lead up to kickoff or the drop of the green flag that are the most nerve-wracking. In football, once you take that first hit, it rings that bell inside and you are trained to do your job. In racing, once you hit that first lug nut, you know it’s game time and you get into a grind and training takes over.”
Myers said he expects more professional athletes to join over-the-wall NASCAR pit crews. A few tenths of a second saved in the pits can be the difference between winning and losing races.
“I have to admit I didn’t know what to think about pit-crew guys and NASCAR when I first considered the idea,” he said. “But these guys are the top of the line. To go over the wall and change a tire with 40 cars running inches from you takes incredible concentration. It’s all about training and performance, so it’s not really much different than the NFL.”
Myers and his Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) team know the risks and rewards of restrictor-plate racing at Talladega and its sister track Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, where the difference between victory and defeat is quite small.
“Talladega – it’s been good to us, but I know you have to respect these racetracks and you’ve got to get to the end of them,” said Bowyer, who won at the 2.66-mile oval in 2010 and 2011. “Obviously, you’ve got to have a little bit of luck not to get caught up in things and, more importantly, be careful not to cause them yourself.”
Bowyer plans to drive his No. 14 Haas Automation Demo Day Ford into the SHR history book this weekend. Talladega and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta are the only two active tracks where SHR has yet to win. History says Bowyer could change that Sunday. In addition to two victories at Talladega, he’s posted six top-five finishes and 12 top-10s.
He’s been part of a dominant four-driver SHR contingent that has won four of the season’s first nine races. Bowyer is third in points and coming off a ninth-place finish at Richmond (Va.) Raceway, where his No. 14 Ford led 45 laps. He has six top-10 finishes in the season’s nine races, including four consecutive top-10s. Those results include Bowyer’s first win at SHR and ninth career victory March 26 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
Bowyer thinks a victory party at Talladega would surpass one at just about any other track.
“There are a hell of a lot of fans there,” said Bowyer about Talladega. “It is fun winning in front a packed house like that in the grandstand. When you do a burnout, it’s pretty cool. You look up and see all those fans. This is a track you want to win at.”
Blue Skies, Temperatures in the 70s and the Greatest Racing Experience on the Planet Awaits Fans, Drivers at Talladega Superspeedway this Weekend23 Apr 2018
With Chamber of Commerce weather in the meteorologists’ forecasts this weekend, all eyes will be on Talladega Superspeedway as a host of story lines are set to dominate the track’s tripleheader extravaganza, which features the GEICO 500 (Sunday) for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the Sparks Energy 300 (Saturday) for the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the General Tire 200 (Friday) for the ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards. And, great seating options are still available.
For the GEICO 500, can veteran Kyle Busch continue his hot streak after reeling off three consecutive victories entering the event? Can Ford claim its sixth in-a-row at Talladega? Can one of NASCAR’s new group of young talent become the track’s 12th different “first-time winner” in NASCAR’s premier series? And, can Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., back up his 2017 GEICO 500 triumph? Here’s a look at what will be on tap this weekend at the Most Competitive race track - and family-fun experience - on the planet.
This Busch is For You: Kyle Busch adds him name to this list of drivers who come into Talladega with a winning streak of at least three straight races in NASCAR’s premier series. However, no one has been able to stretch the streak at the conclusion of the ‘Dega race. In 1972, the leader of the famed Alabama Gang – Bobby Allison – had reeled off three consecutive heading into Talladega, but wound up third behind victor James Hylton. It was the same result for Rusty Wallace in 1993 as he tried for four-in-a-row, but came up short with a sixth-place effort behind winner Ernie Irvan. In 1987, Dale Earnhardt, Sr., actually claimed four straight and was going for his fifth when he arrived at the 2.66-mile venue. But, it wasn’t in the cards for the track’s all-time winner, falling short behind Davey Allison. Busch does know his way to the winner’s circle, winning the GEICO 500 in 2008.
Only eight drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Modern Era (1972-Present) have won four consecutive races – Cale Yarborough (1976), Darrell Waltrip (1981), Earnhardt, Sr. (1987), Harry Gant (1991), Bill Elliott (1992), Mark Martin (1993), Jeff Gordon (1998) and Jimmie Johnson (2007).
None of the winning streaks, however, included Talladega.
Lucky No. 12? Young Guns Looking for Win: A host of NASCAR’s Young Guns have yet to go to victory lane in their career, and that first triumph could come at TSS. Stenhouse, Jr. became the 11th driver a year ago to etch his name in the record book as a first-time Cup winner. Names like Brad Keselowski, Davey Allison and Ken Schrader grabbed their initial win at TSS. Some of those who hope to join the fraternity include Chase Elliott, Ty Dillon, Daniel Suarez, Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, Jr., Erik Jones, William Byron and Alex Bowman. A Stenhouse, Jr. repeat win would make him the sixth driver in history to go back-to-back in the GEICO 500. The last to do it? Gordon in 2004-05.
Ford Going for Six Straight: Ford has won the past five Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Talladega, with Joey Logano (fall 2015, fall 2016), Keselowski (spring 2016, fall 2017) and Stenhouse, Jr. (spring 2017). With Keselowski’s win in fall of 2014, Ford has won six of seven (Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won in spring of 2015 in a Chevrolet). Mercury won five straight from 1971-73 while Chevrolet actually holds the overall record with 13 in-a-row from 1999-2005.
Bridesmaid No More? Before he captured his first career win in NASCAR’s top series, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott finished second eight times. After the eighth time, it took him eight races to claim his first career triumph. His son, Chase, now has eight runner-up finishes after his effort last weekend in Richmond, VA. Could he lay claim to his first triumph sooner, perhaps at Talladega, a place where his Dad was iconic with two victories and holds NASCAR’s record speed for qualifying? Well, the numbers are in Chase’s favor. It took his Dad 13 starts to get his first top five at Talladega. Chase accomplished the feat in his first race with a fifth-place finish. It took Bill 17 races for his first TSS pole. Chase did it in his first appearance. Winning? Bill drove to Gatorade Victory Lane in his 17thattempt. Chase makes his fifth start this weekend. His initial numbers are better than his dad’s, but time will tell.
Cream Rises to the Top: The top six in the NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup standings all have a victory at Talladega – Keselowski leads the way with five while Clint Bowyer has two, and Busch, Logano, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin own one.
Timothy Peters to make Cup debut: Two-time Talladega Superspeedway winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (2014, 2015), Timothy Peters, will make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut at the mammoth venue, driving for Rick Benton Racing. Peters has one start this year in a truck, also for Rick Benton Racing, resulting in a fourth-place finish at Martinsville.
Sparks Energy 300 Repeaters: Only two drivers have won more than once in the last 12 years of the Sparks Energy 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race - Elliott Sadler (2014, 2016) and Logano (2012, 2015). Aric Almirola is the defending champion.
Dash 4 Cash Bonus Program: After his victory on Friday night at Richmond, Christopher Bell, along with Sadler, Matt Tifft and Austin Cindric will compete in the Dash 4 Cash NASCAR Xfinity Series Program, gunning for the $100,000 bonus in the Sparks Energy 300.
Drivers Only Broadcast on FOX: FOX will once again use a group of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers to provide race commentary and analysis during the Sparks Energy 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series event on Saturday. The lineup includes: Harvick, Bowyer, Logano, Ryan Blaney, Jones, Stenhouse, Jr., Keselowski and Wallace, Jr.
11 and Counting in General Tire 200: The last 11 General Tire 200 ARCA Racing Series events have seen 11 different winners. In fact, over the last 20 years, there have been 19 drivers go to Gatorade Victory Lane with Frank Kimmel as the lone driver with two victories (2006, 2013). Justin Haley is the defending champion.
ACTION ON AND OFF THE TRACK
“Big One on the Blvd”: On Friday night, NASCAR drivers will parade & oversee fan competitions. This year includes four all-new outrageous fan competitions you’ll have to see to believe.
- Chop It Like It’s Hot –A unique “team” pork chop eating contest using no hands
- Stick It To Me –Use your imagination as contestants use a plunger and rolls of toilet paper
- NO BALLS – a slippery, fun version of musical chairs using race tires and exercise balls
- Trap Queen – Four ladies, equipped with sponges, run through a pit of 600 gallons of a mystery substance
Drivers scheduled (subject to change) to appear so far include: Bowyer, Kyle Larson, Blaney, Stenhouse, Jr., Dillon, Suarez, Jones, Brendan Gaughan, Matt DiBenedetto, Daniel Hemric, Ryan Truex, Michael Waltrip and Gordon. The event is for infield camping guests, renewal guest ticket holders and fans with infield wristband admissions.
Traditional Saturday Night Infield Concert: Singer-songwriter Uncle Kracker will perform as the headliner for the traditional Saturday Night Infield Concert. Joining him will be NASCAR favorite Tim Dugger and locally known DJ Mark A.D. from Birmingham, AL. Admission to the SNIC is FREE with a Sunday GEICO 500 ticket, and is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. (CDT) at the intersection of Eastaboga and Talladega Blvds.
KIDS! KIDS! KIDS!
- Kids 12-and-younger are admitted free in all grandstand and tower seats for Friday’s General Tire 200 and Saturday’s Sparks Energy 300! A physical ticket is needed.
- Kids 12-and-younger can enjoy the GEICO 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race for $50 off regular pricing and as low as $15.
- For 2-day Saturday/Sunday packages, the kid’s ticket is $10. All kids must have a ticket for entry.
Kids VIP Experience Presented by Children’s of Alabama: Provides behind-the-scenes access for kids at NASCAR’s biggest track. Open to kids 12-and-younger who have a Pre-Race Pit Pass Upgrade (Each adult must also have a Pre-Race Pit Pass Upgrade) and Sunday race ticket. Kids have the option to choose one experience on a first come, first served basis. The Kids Station behind Pit Road opens at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday before the GEICO 500. (2 Kids per 1 adult limit). Kids can choose one of the following:
- Reserved Kids VIP area at the Drivers Meeting red carpet
- VIP hot laps in Grand Marshal car
- Pit box tour with race team crew
- Reserved Kids VIP area at Drivers Introductions (No autographs)
- Guided tour of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Garage
- Photo opportunity in Gatorade Victory Lane before the race
SPECIAL OFFERS AND EXPERIENCES
Pre-Race Pit Pass Upgrade: Fan who purchase a Pre-Race Pit Pass Upgrade for only $80 can get an exclusive look at pre-race festivities prior to the GEICO 500. Fans receive a chance to stand stage side at driver introductions, a special area by the red carpet at the entrance to the drivers meeting prior to the race and a first-hand look at the cars lined up on pit road. Additionally, fans will be able to participate in a special Fan Q&A Session (9:15 to 10:45 a.m. CDT) on the start-finish line. Scheduled to appear are: Harvick, Jones, Paul Menard, Byron, Bowman and Luke Lambert (subject to change).
Sunday VIP Experience: Offers fans a chance to witness behind-the-scenes race day happenings prior to the running of the GEICO 500. As part of the unprecedented experience, Motor Racing Network (MRN) Pit Reporter and former driver, Glenn Jarrett, will lead fans on a personal, guided tour of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Garage, the MRN Broadcast hauler and pit road, while fans listen to the insights via Racing Electronics headsets. Additional benefits include a reserved area near the front of the pre-race stage for GEICO 500 driver introductions, a hot lap in a Grand Marshal car and a Gatorade Victory Lane photo opportunity. The Sunday VIP Experience is $399.
Unrestricted Weekend VIP Package: Provides fans exclusive, up-close access to the garages, pits and other exciting activities at the track throughout the entire race weekend. Fans also receive access to Friday night’s “Big One on the Blvd,” VIP access to the Saturday Night Infield Concert, a reserved area by the red carpet to the drivers meeting entrance, a hot lap in the Grand Marshal car and much more. Fans must be 19 years old to participate. The Unrestricted Weekend VIP Packageis $599.
Military & First Responders AppreciationTickets: For the GEICO 500 and Sparks Energy 300, Talladega Superspeedway is offering special ticket offers for military and first responders (Police Officers, Firemen and EMT’s) and their families:
- $40: Lower-Level ticket in the Lincoln or Anniston Grandstands for the GEICO 500
- $95: 2-day Tri-Oval Tower tickets for both Saturday’s Sparks Energy 300 and Sunday’s GEICO 500
- $35: Pre-Race Pit Pass is also offered for GEICO 500 (available by telephone only)
Teachers & Educators Appreciation: Talladega is thanking educators and faculty members who work within our school districts to shape our youth into outstanding citizens. Those who work in the school system and qualify can save up to 30% off tickets on various ticket options.
- 2-Day Grandstand and Tower Packages:
- Saturday: Sparks Energy 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series event, along with Fr8Auctions Qualifying (Freight Auctions Qualifying) for the GEICO 500
- Sunday: GEICO 500 for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (Ticket also gives admission to the track’s traditional Saturday Night Infield Concert)
- Sunday Grandstand and Tower Seating for the GEICO 500
College Student Program: College students can purchase a $24 college ticket to attend the entire weekend full of festivities and racing, including the GEICO 500. Others fun activities include:
- Free Entry to the Saturday Night Infield Concert featuring Uncle Kracker
- Free Entry to the “Big One on the Blvd” party in the infamous infield
- Free Parking and Camping in the College Tailgate Zone all weekend
- Free Tram Service - in and out of the track - for Friday’s “Big One on the Blvd” & Saturday’s Infield Concert
- General Admission seating in the Gadsden Grandstand sections A-D near Turn 4
- Opportunity to bring your own cooler into the Gadsden Grandstand (soft-sided, maximum size of 14”x14”x14”, no glass), filled with your favorite snacks and beverages
- College Party:
- 5:00 – 7:00 PM
- College Tailgate Zone in GEICO NORTH Park across the street from the track
- DJ Mark A.D.
- Appearance by Erik Jones, driver of the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
- Games and Prizes
The VIP Tailgate Experience in The Compound: The brand-new space for the ultimate tailgating experience located just outside of the grandstands behind Legend’s Village hospitality area. A weekend package is just $150 while there are single day options ($100 Sunday; $60 Saturday) available. Includes:
- 1 parking pass
- 15’ x 25’ paved asphalt or gravel tailgate spot
- 6 compound admission wristbands for each day
- Up to 4 additional wristbands may be purchased for each day
- A space holder must also purchase at least one Sunday GEICO 500 ticket (and a Sparks Energy 300 ticket for Saturday single day)
- Overnight parking is not permitted
Fanatics Mobile Trailers: Fans looking to “gear-up” to showcase the support of their favorite driver and track can do so by visiting the more than a dozen Fanatics mobile trailers that will be in Talladega Superspeedway’s Fan Zone, which will be open from 8:00 a.m., Friday through Sunday, until the drop of the green flag. Located outside the frontstretch near Turn 4, the mobile trailers include a wide selection for champion drivers as well as the “young guns.” In addition to the Fanatics mobile trailers, Talladega’s Fan Zone will offer families a host of fun, music, as well as dozens of activities and interactive exhibits that showcase a multitude of companies involved in the sport.
NASCAR Xfinity Series Autograph Session: Several NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers will sign autographs on Friday from 4:15 to 5:00 p.m. in Legend’s Village. Guests/Fans will need to pick up wristbands before the session at the main Guest Services Office located at the O.V. Hill South Grandstand Section L. Each Guest/Fan who has a wristband will be guaranteed a spot in the autograph line.
National Anthem Performers:
- Sunday’s GEICO 500: Continuing the tradition of the past seven Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series events at Talladega, the 313th United States Army Band from Birmingham will again play the song of our country before the start of the GEICO 500. The band is made up of citizen-soldiers who train and perform as a group of Army musicians. The group’s pure, instrumental version of the National Anthem has become a Sunday tradition at Talladega. In addition, the iconic Johnny Ray Semi Truck Drive By will take place during the Anthem as well as a military flyover by the United States Navy.
- Friday/Saturday: Munford, AL native Ramsey Whitney, a 7thgrade student at nearby Munford Middle School, will sing the National Anthem prior to the General Tire 200 on Friday. Singer-songwriter Calah Delaney, a 17-year-old Georgetown Day School student from Bethesda, MD, will be singing the National Anthem prior to the Sparks Energy 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race.
Invocations: Handling the invocation for each of the races this weekend are members of Alabama Raceway Ministries: Jason Falls (General Tire 200), Bill Robertson (Sparks Energy 300) and Mark Stokes (GEICO 500).
Camp for Free!: Talladega Superspeedway offers over 15,000 free camping sites in three conveniently located parks that opened this week. All-day parking on Talladega Superspeedway property remains free.
SMOKE FREE: Throughout the grandstands designated smoking areas will be set up under the grandstands and towers.
PARKING AND TRANSPORTATION
Preferred Regular Parking:
- Race Day (Cash Only) – Saturday Only: $15/ Sunday Only: $25
FREE Parking: Several Parking lots on Speedway property remain free of charge to Talladega Superspeedway fans.
For more information on all things Talladega Superspeedway or to purchase tickets for the upcoming race weekend, visit www.
Richmond Raceway Looks Towards First Fall Playoff Race Weekend After Successful Toyota Spring Race Weekend23 Apr 2018
The Toyota Spring Race Weekend at Richmond Raceway (Richmond) was full of action as Kyle Busch and Christopher Bell of Joe Gibbs Racing completed the Toyota Racing sweep in the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and ToyotaCare 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) races. From two nights of racing “under the lights” to facility improvements and new fan events, America’s Premier Short Track brought a unique experience to the fans. As the track closes the book on its April weekend, it begins its preparations for the Fall Playoff Race Weekend, presented by Who’s Your Driver, featuring the Federated Auto Parts 400 Monster Energy Series and Go Bowling 250 NXS races, along with the official grand opening of the DC Solar FanGrounds.
Saturday night was alright for Kyle Busch as he secured his third consecutive win this season in capturing the checkered flag in the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 Monster Energy Series race. The driver of the No. 18 Toyota Camry is no stranger to Gatorade Victory Lane at Richmond as his win marked his fifth win at America’s Premier Short Track. Busch had to battle his way through the field after starting in the 32nd position, which was the furthest starting position a driver has every come to win a Cup race at Richmond. This victory moves him into first in career wins among active drivers at Richmond. The win was Busch’s 46th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win, tying Buck Baker for 15th all-time on the career Cup win list.
On Friday night, Christopher Bell, driver of the No. 20 Toyota Camry in NXS, took home the victory in the ToyotaCare 250 race. Bell dominated the race by leading 120 laps en route to his first career Richmond victory, and his first win of the 2018 season. The victory officially locked Bell into the NXS Playoffs. Bell’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Noah Gragson finished second in his first NXS start. Elliott Sadler of Emporia, Va., Matt Tifft, and Austin Cindric rounded out the top five. Racing Virginia’s Sadler also was the Dash4Cash $100,000 winner.
“The Toyota Spring Race Weekend at Richmond was memorable for fans, partners, and staff,” said Richmond President Dennis Bickmeier. “The fans got to watch some of the best short track racing ‘under the lights’ while enjoying original, engaging events throughout the weekend. As we close out our April weekend, we turn our focus to Richmond becoming a NASCAR Playoff city for the first time.”
The track now turns its attention to preparing for the Fall Playoff Race Weekend, presented by Who’s Your Driver. Both series returns for two nights of racing “under the lights.” The Federated Auto Parts 400 Monster Energy Series is the second race in the first round of the playoffs, and marks the first time in Richmond’s history the track will host a playoff race. The Go Bowling 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race is the first race in the NXS playoffs.
Additionally, the fall weekend is the official grand opening of the DC Solar FanGrounds and the completion of the Richmond Raceway Reimagined project. Fans and teams got a small taste of what is to come this April weekend and what they can expect for fall. The $30 million infield redevelopment project includes new Monster Energy Series garages complete with a fan viewing walkway, fan engagement areas, a 80-person Victory Lane club, garage suites, and new location for Gatorade Victory Lane. The project will be completed and open to fans in time for the Fall Playoff Race Weekend. Fans can purchase tickets to the DC Solar FanGrounds by visiting richmondraceway.com.
Richmond Raceway PR
Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI) (NYSE:TRK) on April 23, 2018 declared a quarterly cash dividend of 15 cents per share of common stock. The quarterly dividend will be payable on June 5, 2018 to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 15, 2018.
Speedway Motorsports, Inc. is a leading marketer, promoter and sponsor of motorsports entertainment in the United States. The Company, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates the following premier facilities: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway. The Company provides souvenir merchandising services through its SMI Properties subsidiaries; manufactures and distributes smaller-scale, modified racing cars and parts through its U.S. Legend Cars International subsidiary; and produces and broadcasts syndicated motorsports programming to radio stations nationwide through its Performance Racing Network subsidiary. For more information about Speedway Motorsports, visit www.speedwaymotorsports.com.
This news release contains forward-looking statements, particularly statements with regard to our future operations and financial results. There are many factors that affect future events and trends of our business including, but not limited to, economic factors, geopolitical conditions, weather, the success of NASCAR and others as sanctioning bodies, capital projects and expansion, financing needs, and a host of other factors both within and outside of management control. These factors and other factors, including those contained in our Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequently filed Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, involve certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from management's views and expectations. Inclusion of any information or statement in this news release does not necessarily imply that such information or statement is material. The Company does not undertake any obligation to release publicly revised or updated forward-looking information, and such information included in this news release is based on information currently available and may not be reliable after this date.
We'll have a new winner in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East this weekend, as the series heads to Larry King Law's Langley Speedway for a Saturday night showcase. And the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour roll into Stafford Motor Speedway for the 47th Annual Spring Sizzler at the historic Connecticut oval.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
The only thing for certain is Todd Gilliland will not be driving into Victory Lane. But that won't mean his father may not be celebrating another win.
After taking the first two races of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season, the NASCAR Next driver from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, is the defending race winner at the .396-mile oval. But he does not have Langley on his list on his partial K&N Pro schedule he's running this year. That opens the door for a new face to emerge. They might not have to look far.
Gilliland's teammate at DGR-Crosley, Tyler Ankrum, is coming off a fourth-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway. And earlier Monday, the team announced that NASCAR Next alumni Tyler Dippel will be driving for the team for the remainder of the season. Dippel will step into the No. 54 Noah Gragson drove to a third-place at Bristol.
Last year, DGR's Chase Purdy finished second to Gilliland.
Langley could also help start to sort out the 2018 championship race. The top two drivers -- Gilliland and defending series champion Harrison Burton -- are not running the full season. That leaves Ankrum holding third place by five points over Spencer Davis and seven of Brandon McReynolds and Dippel, with Ronnie Bassett Jr. only another point behind. It's also an opportunity for a couple drivers with championship aspirations, like Anthony Alfredo and Chase Cabre, to shake off some early season misfortune and climb back in the race.
Langley has hosted six previous K&N Pro Series events, beginning in 2011. Kyle Larson (2012) is the only eventual series champion not to finish in the top three in that season's race at the Hampton track (he was seventh), while Sergio Pena (fifth in 2011) was the only Langley race winner not to finish in the top two in championship points at the end of the season.
VISIT HAMPTON VA 150
Larry King Law's Langley Speedway, Hampton, Va.
Saturday, April 28
9 p.m. PT
NBCSN, Thursday, May 3 – 11 p.m. ET
Saturday — Garage opens: 10:45 a.m.; Practice: 1:45-2:30 p.m.; Final practice: 2:45-3:30 p.m.; Driver autograph session: 5:45-6:45 p.m.; Qualifying: 7 p.m.; Visit Hampton VA 150: 9 p.m.
Christian Eckes Continues Venturini Motorsports' Early Season Dominance with First Career ARCA Victory23 Apr 2018
After so many near misses seventeen year-old Christian Eckes finally got the 'monkey off his back', winning a thriller Sunday afternoon at Salem Speedway.
Eckes’ first career victory is Venturini Motorsports’ second on the young season and 46th all-time in ARCA competition.
"I can't believe this…I really can't," said Eckes. "This is the biggest win of my life. This is Salem. It's so hard to win here. I have no words to describe how relieved I am right now and how much this means to me.”
Eckes, driving the No.15 JBL Audio sponsored Toyota for Venturini Motorsports, held off a non-stop charge from teammate and pole sitter Chandler Smith for the last 30-laps bringing a packed house to their feet for a dramatic finish as the two drivers circled the half-mile bullring in search for their first victory.
With the white flag in the air, Smith followed in the immediate tire tracks of Eckes as both charged into turn one inches apart. Then, in an instant, Smith cut down a right-front tire as his No. 20 Smith General Contacting Toyota slid up the banking and smashed hard into the wall while Eckes sailed off toward the checkered flag.
Smith was credited with a 10th place finish after the accident.
"It's hard…so hard to look up in the mirror and see that black car charging the way he did," Eckes said. "I have no idea how we held him off for so long…what a day. This is a genuinely tough track to get around…it's just a great day."
The class of the field throughout the day, Eckes and Smith combined to lead 189 of 200 laps on the day.
Smith, 15, earned his second consecutive General Tire Pole Award on Saturday and led a race high of 117-laps in just his second series start. Eckes traded the top spot with Smith a half of dozen times before coming out on top led 72-laps on the day.
Natalie Decker, driver of the No.25 N29 Capital Partners Toyota finished a disappointing 17th in her first trip to Salem. Decker, showing speed, drove her way up to fifth place before being turned in turn-4 and taking heavy right side damage and ending her chances.
Off to a torrid pace, Venturini Motorsports has won two of the first three races on the season (Daytona and Salem) with Michael Self and Christian Eckes and has claimed three consecutive General Tire Pole Awards behind the efforts of Chandler Smith (Nashville and Salem) and Natalie Decker (Daytona).
The next event for the ARCA Racing Series is the General Tire 200 at Talladega Superspeedway on Friday afternoon, April 27, live on FS1.
Ross Chastain, driving the No. 4 USVets911.com Chevrolet Camaro, came home with a top 20 finish for team JD Motorsports with Gary Keller at Richmond Raceway.
Chastain advanced to round two in ToyotaCare 250 qualifying and started the race in 16th place. The No. 4 USVets911.com Chevy finished in 18th place, maintaining Chastain’s 12th place position in NASCAR Xfinity Series driver standings.
“We had a pretty solid race today at Richmond,” said Chastain. “The car was really fast at the beginning of the race, and it felt like we were going to bring home another top-10, but something happened there at the end and we just didn’t have the same speed. My No. 4 guys worked hard, and we were able to keep fighting and bring home a top-20. It was an honor to have USVets911.com on board this weekend. They do great things ensuring that our veterans and their families have the support, resources, and opportunities they've earned, and I hope to be working with them more in the future.”
Next up for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is the Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 28th, 2018.